The True Spoilers Have Sold Out Our Liberties And Our Property

Marc Guttman // Published June 1, 2008 in Connecticut
The mainstream media often professes that a “third” party or independent candidate spoiled some election for one of the adorned parties' candidate.

They'll claim Ralph Nader lost the 2000 presidential election for Al Gore or Ross Perot lost the 2004 presidential election for George H.W. Bush. The truth, however, is that Gore and Bush were no more entitled to our votes than Nader or Perot. In fact, Nader and Perot no more spoiled the elections for their opponents than their opponents spoiled the election for them.

Pundits often argue whether Libertarian candidates “take more votes away from” the Democrats, as Libertarians are stronger on personal liberties, or the Republicans, as Libertarians are stronger on fiscal responsibility. Libertarians also outshine both on peace, promoting nonintervention overseas, preserving rights to privacy and due process, ending corporate subsidies and favoritism, and protecting property rights. And despite recent polls that demonstrate that there are just as many libertarian-minded Americans as there are neoconservatives and neoliberals, the mainstream media continues to tell us which candidates are viable from either of the two establishment parties, side-lining the rest of us.

Interviewers often ask Congressman Ron Paul who he will endorse of the “three” candidates for U.S. president. He answers that he will not vote for any of them as all three support our overseas interventions and do not respect individuals' rights. For example, John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War Resolution and have along with Barack Obama voted for every appropriations bill to continue the war. McCain and Clinton voted for the USA Patriot Act in 2001 and Obama joined them in renewing it in 2006.

This is my point. The Democrats and Republicans are the spoilers in the most important way. We have let them spoil the principles and benefits of self-government that had allowed us to create the most free, prosperous and peaceful society on earth.

Year after year these two parties bring us further down the road away from individual rights, personal responsibility and constitutional law towards mob rule and tyranny. They have sold out our liberties and property to cronies, high bidders and appetizing, special-interest voting blocks. And despite some disagreement on some marginal issues, the two parties are more similar than different, essentially promoting government and authoritarianism.

If we had instead chosen representatives who honored their oath of office, then our government would not be the strong arm of those best able to curry its favor. Certain individuals and corporations would not receive special privileges, subsidies and protections. We would not be entangled around the world in disputes that make us less safe, free and wealthy and that disrupt and end the lives of many, including our own soldiers. Individuals would be free to trade with each other and foster peaceful, mutually beneficial relationships. We would retain our rights to due process, privacy and ownership of our own bodies. We would keep the fruits of our labor and best use our personal resources to maximize our family's happiness. Because of our expanded prosperity, the result of a free economy, the worst off amongst us would find not only that they had more opportunity to help themselves, but that their neighbors would be better able to assist them.

How do the Republicans and Democrats maintain their power despite such abuse? Besides the biased support from the mainstream media, the two parties have passed unfair legislation making it difficult and expensive for other candidates to achieve ballot access. Readers can educate themselves on these issues at:

Publicly-funded debates often keep out alternative candidates. The Commission on Presidential Debates hailed itself until recently as a “bipartisan” organization, staffed by Democrat and Republican party officials. Bipartisan is not nonpartisan and other parties' candidates rarely are invited to participate.

Democrat and Republican candidates also enjoy millions of taxpayer dollars to promote themselves and their ideas. Connecticut's recently passed, unfair campaign finance legislation is being challenged by the ACLU, the Connecticut Green Party, and the Libertarian Party of Connecticut. In 2004, the Democrat and Republican national conventions cost taxpayers $40 million each. In the end, should anyone be forced to pay for the promotion of people and ideas, especially with which they disagree?

Alternative voting systems are becoming more popular around the country and overseas, such as instant runoff voting (IRV). With IRV, voters can rank-order the candidates. To understand how this simple mechanism eliminates concern about “wasting votes” on favored candidates perceived as nonviable, visit In addition, there is legitimate concern by many about the corruptibility of electronic voting systems.

No one is entitled to your vote. And when you examine the track record of the two older parties, it should become clear who are the true spoilers.

Marc Guttman is an emergency physician and vice chairman of the Libertarian Party of Connecticut. He is the current Libertarian candidate for the 20th District state Senate seat.